T Nation

How Do You NOT Do a Ton of Volume?


Once I started paying close attention to rest periods..my training volume grew..ALOT. I look at a lot of programs--beginner to more advanced--which have relatively few exercises in set/rep schemes that look pretty low. I never really train for over an hour..rarely do I ever and if I do...it's perhaps 10-15 minutes over an hour.

And I know most guys here are in the gym for atleast 45 mnutes themselves. To give you guys an idea of the amount of volume I do..let's look at a more popular day for a lot of people: Back and biceps.

NOTE: 60 seconds rest between everything at least.
Narrow Grip Chins - 3 x 8-10 (tends to go down to 8 by last set)
Wide Grip Pullups - 1 x 8-10
Normal Grip Pullups - 1 x 8-10
Narrow Grip Pullups - 1 x 8-10

Bent over barbell rows - 4 x 8-10 (tends to go down to 8 reps by the last set or so.)

One arm dumbbell rows - 4 x 10-12 (again tends to go down to lower range by last set or so)

Barbell curls - 3 x 8-10
Hammer curls - 2 x 8-10
Chins x 8
Pronated curls - 2 x 8-10

Finish with some more chins.

Yes..this is absolutely completed within an hour.. How the hell are you guys who are in the gym for an hour and some of you more, not doing volume like this?


My body feels 20 years older than my age suggests. I spend about 15 minutes just getting loose. Stretching, prehab and all that other stuff. When I lift heavy, I like to take longer rest periods because it allows me to use more weight. My leg and back days(when I do them in a good gym with all the HS goodies) are both over an hour. I'd say 1:15 if I'm doing things right.


longer rest periods.

While doing heavy DL's, BB rows or weighted pull ups its not uncommon to take 3+ minutes rest between sets so that you can hit the heavy weight again. That time really adds up.

Is that your normal back n bi's day? You do 8+ sets of pull ups/chin ups in one day?


Get a lot stronger then try cramming a ton of sets and exercises into 45 minutes with brief rest periods.

When I first started lifting I could hit failure on bench, rest 30 seconds and bang out another set. Nowadays, I'd probably crush my throat if I tried that... and I'm not exactly hyooge


Yes..I tend to bang a few sets out here and there on other days as well. I will do them weighted if I want to do lower reps. Since I've started adding that much more chins/pulls..my back width improved a good amount.

When I was training powerlifting about two years ago..when doing heavy triples, doubles and singles..I'd rest 3 mins..even more at times. On a side note..I'd like to do deadlifts but don't have enough weight to do them..and can't afford a gym membership right now. I do have enough weight to make rows of both kinds heavy enough for about 5 reps.

With a minute rest..it becomes very difficult to hit the full 10 reps that I get in the first couple sets..I tend to get to 8 reps and then cheat rep the last two..like a kroc row for the last two.

I wasn't sure if this amount of volume is a problem because the session itself lasts just about an hour.


Also..I have puked once..during dumbbell rows..not sure if that's good or bad.


i like to super set back with tris or chest with bis so reduce time in the gym. this way i hit bis and tris twice a week (once with compounds, once with isolation work) which eliminates the need for an "arm day".


I used to be one of those guys blindly thinking you had to be out of the gym in under an hour or hell would somehow be unleashed upon the Earth. These days I like to think I know better. As long as I know my nutritional/recovery bases are covered as best as I can, I take as long as I need to 'get the job done'.

Obviously if I'm doing focusing on heavier weights for a few weeks, I'll take a little longer between sets, but it's not even something I think about. I hit the next set when I feel ready to crush it.


  1. Spotting someone else
  2. Waiting for someone to spot me
  3. Working with a group
  4. Waiting for someone to finish with the piece of equipment I want
  5. Taking a dump
  6. Making small talk with others in between sets or after the entire workout is finished
  7. Drinking a lot of fluids
  8. Taking a piss

The reality is though why do you care how long someone else takes in the gym? Not everyone considers it a rush.


I agree..I don't care man.. I'm concerned with whether or not I'm doing something wrong haha. Because if I reduced volume my training would be like 30 mins and I'd feel like I didn't do enough or something..

I also wonder if this level of volume somehow would allow me to eat more calories..


If it's not then somethings' wrong.


Doing high volume workouts with short rest periods is one approach, but you are forced to use less weight for your sets and it tends to become more of a cardio conditioning workout. Sounds like cross-fit to me.

I only do 12 sets during my workouts. I go as heavy as possible, and take the time I need to recover before hitting the next set. Course, I'm also 45 so I need more recovery time than someone younger.



You listed your routine but I'm curious, how much weight are you using on your rows and curls.


A lot less than you lol. I'm approx 147lbs right now..rows right now around 135lbs for 5x10..I usually do curls with a 25 on each side


Maybe you should do less volume, higher weight and greater rest periods so its less of an endurance/pump workout and more for size and strength.


OP, from your post, I gather you are doing straight sets, that is using the same weight for all your sets, since your reps drop on your last 2 sets. That is one way of training, some folks like to ramp up their weights- increase the weight with each set and possibly decreasing the reps as you move up in weight.From my experience, as the weights get heavier and more of a challenge, my rest periods increase somewhat.


I don't see how it's an endurance pump workout... honestly. I've gained approx. 7lbs in a bit less than 4 weeks.


That isn't a lot of sets, I wouldn't consider your training a volume workout.


Thanks for the input...would you say I could actually stand to increase sets or should stay where I am at. I think a lot of people are confusing the fact that because I'm doing that many reps or sets..with 60 seconds rest..it must not be intense or something. But I have puked before..and I am genuinely growing..

I know it is working..just wasn't sure if it was OPTIMAL..


I've been taking an hour and a half to two hours on average the past couple months.

It really just comes down to:
1. Long rest times, on my heavy compounds I'll often take 3+ minute rests between sets.
2. Training with other people. I lift with two other guys, and the time it takes to spot them and wait as they go through pre-lift amp-ups def. adds up.